BERGSTRAESSER, GOTTHELF° (1886–1933), German Semitic scholar and linguist. Bergstraesser was born in Oberlosa (Thueringen). During World War i, while professor at the University of Constantinople, he studied the spoken dialects in Palestine and Syria on which he later published several scholarly works: Sprachatlas von Syrien und Palaestina (1915); Zum arabischen Dialekt von Damaskus (1924); Neuaramaeische Maerchen und andere Texte aus Maʿlula (1915); Glossar des neuaramaeischen Dialekts von Maʿlula (1921). Bergstraesser began to work on an edition of Gesenius' Hebraeische Grammatik of which only two parts appeared (Einleitung, Schrift-und Lautlehre, 1918; Verbum, 1929). He also edited a Hebrew reader Hebraeische Lesestuecke aus dem Alten Testament (1920). In addition to the linguistic studies which earned him international repute (Einfuehrung in die semitischen Sprachen, 1928), Bergstraesser engaged in research on textual criticism and reading of the Koran, Arabic translations from Greek, especially of Galen, and on Islamic law. A fierce opponent of Nazism, Bergstraesser spoke out strongly against antisemitism.
M. Meyerhof, in: Isis, 25 (1936), 60–62 (Eng.); H. Gottschalk, in: Der Islam, 24 (1937), 185–91 (with partial bibliography).
[Martin Meir Plessner]